Self ish

The oxford dictionary says selfish means…. a person lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

odd when the word self means….A person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others, especially considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action; and…..One’s particular nature or personality; the qualities that make one individual or unique.

When did selfish become such a loaded word, when the word self is about individuality and uniqueness.

I have noticed that as we work, many clients start to realise that they have been myopic and only seen the world through the narrow view of their established beliefs and values and that as a consequence they have missed so much of what is around them. That they are not going ‘mad’ but like everyone can only see through the narrow spectrum of their cumulative life experience.

So whether it’s the client who has left an abusive relationship and is happily surprised at the level of love and support from friends and neighbours that they have kept at arm’s length for fear of not being liked, or the young client who is so wracked with fear in social situations or at college that they miss the fact that others around them might be feeling the same, or worse, which in turn affects the sense of judgement they have about themselves.

When there is a realisation that others might be going through something similar or simply that the world looks different from this new more open perspective, the response is often ‘Oh but that means that I’m so selfish aren’t I?’

When in reality, they are now beginning to see themselves in context and necessarily need to become more self-ish, to begin to focus on what makes them individual and unique, their strengths and abilities that had previously been ignored, and which can become the foundation for more self-belief and self worth, and ultimately growth.

So maybe we all need to be a bit more self-ish, to begin to value who and what we are and what we contribute to this world we inhabit that is of value.

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